Archive for February, 2015


The Fini to my Mushroom ComiCon Communion


It’s time I put a cap on this ComiCon story. It would take a half dozen posts to express all the moments, emotions and thoughts that unwrapped inside me Saturday while blazing through the endless shuffle. The triad of key points to this jaunt had to be the ComiCon participants, the dance of a photographer covering the event and my psychedelic communion and celebration of the natural spore. A magic mushroom high falls into that category of similar mind altering drugs like DMT or ayahuasca; a bit tamer but still leads to a mental plateau where you focus on the less obvious of human nature. Granted, the side effect is you can overlook the typically obvious things around you-like the giant letter J on the wall that I walked right by, but the payoff comes from observing the nuance of human nature, of your own nature, and how we all manage to mingle through this weird little world of ours.
I could ponder on the circus atmosphere the cosplayers and attendees brought to the event, or the cordoned area filled with people who paid top dollar to sit at a table and play board games with other geeks. I could tell the tic-tock moments that led to AMC (or whatever PR powers that oversee media for The Walking Dead) shutting down their cooperation with the press coverage of their attending stars and how that played into a disappointing moment for Mike, missing out on more celebrity shots to turn in for his spread in Nuvo magazine. I could relate the questions pondered on where to draw the line on public photography when witnessing catchy costumes on physically and mentally challenged individuals; is it accepting to take shots of them to proclaim you’re treating them like everyone else or does that action reek more of sensationalized dark behavior? A hard call that I didn’t want to wrestle while on mushrooms, a subject few want to tackle while sober.
The points I could relay in closing are a huge chunk of mental chess for me to play with but I won’t ramble on about my take on the experience. Many of you would have your own opinions had you been there, your own experiences. The most significant point to the entire ComiCon adventure for me comes back to the spore. I try to take this quest often now, but not too often. To abuse a drug like that eventually cheapens the whole experience and you’re left empty at some point. To stop doing it altogether has been successful for some individuals who manage to reach a point of perception through deep meditation or prayer, but whatever way one manages to catch that moment of clarity, I encourage. We all have heard the adage about stopping to smell the roses yet so many will just give a melancholy smile and say yeah that would be nice but……And then forget even trying. They swing around and lock themselves into some form of modern tech masturbation and glaze over the possibilities of exploring their world, their mind, because smart phones are so much faster; video games flash and dance like electronic strippers….shiny lights in the face of a deer.
So am I suggesting you go out and get yourself a handful of mushrooms and venture off into some social affair? I’d say leave that to those (like myself) willing to tackle the mystical spore, uninhibited and unafraid. I do suggest you try to find some ways or means that works for you to stop the everyday madness of your life and experience another side of madness hidden behind curtains of your day to day existence. Don’t say you have no time to meditate and clear your mind to witness what gets glossed over so often. We all have a bit of time here and there. Start slow if you have to; turn left one day instead of right and see what happens-and don’t push it-If nothing happens the first time, see what happens the next time, because chances are, you already know what will happen if you keep turning left.  


The Madness Called ComiCon pt. 3


The ushers at the main entry into ComiCon yell at the sea of people swarming into the event, announcing ‘hands up!’-a command they give in order to see your wristband for entry. Fitting, as I see all of us as hostages to the fanfare. We breeze inside and I begin to notice the high point of the mushrooms effect kicking in. I couldn’t have timed this better if I’d planned; it was like a simultaneous orgasm with your partner. My body was bathed in sweat and I clinched my jaw muscles as we worked our way around the exhibits. I never realized how much of a thieves den these places are. It wasn’t the merchandise prices that appalled me, it was the high priced hooker approach to giving you a taste of the geeking icons you wanted to wrap your fingers around. The 60s Batmobile was cordoned off behind ropes where a guy would charge you $20 to have your picture taken next to the vehicle. Lines of lemmings waited their turn to get an autographed picture from the Green Power Ranger. Some guy who was a Spock impersonator was selling-I don’t even know what he was offering but apparently he was making a pretty decent amount off whatever it was he did. I admit he looked a lot like the character Leonard Nimoy portrays in the Star Trek films; I believe his costume was the dress red uniform worn in the Wrath of Kahn film but what really struck me was his height-the guy had to be at least 6 foot five. I turned to my brother to reassure me it wasn’t a hallucination.
Is that guy really that tall?
No time to dwell on that…more hysteria up ahead. At some point after walking around a bit and reflecting inside my head on various mind numbing thoughts the spores had produced, we happened upon a booth where the DeLorean time machine from the Back To The Future movies was. My brother had told me he would get a picture of me sitting in the car for my blog but I thought he was joking. He was not kidding-in fact the photo made it into the spread Nuvo carried, the casual shot of some old fuck sitting in the DeLorean, unaware to so many that his head was messed up on drugs at that moment. My brother Mike has a finesse in his approach to people he has to deal with while doing the photographic dance, be it for fun or assignment, he can carry his body language to persuade the situation to his favor.
He asked me for a couple dollars earlier and suggested it would show good faith on our part to donate a few bucks to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which I suppose sponsors the car booth at these events. Everyone was expected to donate before getting next to the car. I had forgotten about the plan as my mind drifted a dozen different directions but then we closed in on the DeLorean booth and Mike approached the cashier. He started off with his normal banter about being with the press and covering the event blah blah blah , and then I heard him mention something about wanting to get his brother to take a picture sitting in the car. He said he would give them three bucks to do so and waited for their response. Now I had to snap to. I could no longer stay back as an inconspicuous spectator-all eyes would be on me in a moment and I felt drenched in drug sweats, dead certain my eyeballs must be popping out of my head. I told myself to keep my composure. The hoverboard from the movie was attached to the side of the car so anyone wanting to be hovering next to the car could get up and do that. The gent before us, some deformed nerd in a fez with a flashlight was doing the hoverboard and I knew right then that I would not allow myself to be ridiculed like that.
“Do you want to do the hoverboard thing?”
“No. I want in the car.” I told them I might fall off, which was probably true at this point. Mike tells them I’m a bit clumsy and don’t feel comfortable on the hoverboard-great call on his part. Pawn me off as some mentally challenged adult; that works for me. I get to the car and the pro photographer paid to sit there and take shots gets right in my face. I avoid his eyes because I can just imagine him spotting me out and yelling for security-‘this mans on drugs and trying to desecrate the Back to the Future car!!!”
what he ends up saying is something about three important rules to remember.
“Number One, don’t touch any lights or anything on the outside of the car. Number two, be very careful not to bump your head getting in the car.”
My mind blanked and I forgot what the third rule was but hurried my way into the car to get this thing over with. Too many eyes on me, too many nerds and small children watching. As I get out of the car I see a sign that says having your picture taken in the car costs twenty dollars…oh that smooth talking bro of mine.(contd.)


The Madness Called ComiCon pt. 2


Most Comic and geek specific conventions sprout a healthy crowd of cosplay (costumed players) people outside in the designated smoking area however this St. Valentines Day was frigid and not even the most addicted smoker wanted to tolerate the foul weather for long. It would have been a perfect opportunity for me to grab some photos of smoking super heroes (for some reason I have a fascination with collecting images of smoking super heroes-some anti-role model fixation I suppose) but there were none braving the cold; onward into the warm halls of the convention center.
I kept calm remembering that most individuals would not be focusing in on some rambling stranger with a head full of drugs. They come here to display their costumes or geek out on those wearing them. The corridor leading to the main arena was stuffed with Dr. Who impersonators, Wolverine and other X-Men, at least a dozen Jokers and Harley Quinns, obscure video game characters and of course the dreaded Furries..Furries are messed up. They’re like sexual animal nymphs who make it a point to invade your personal space any opportunity they get. I was in no condition to contend with them so I made sure to steer far from them once spotted. One kid caught my eye; a young girl who was wearing what I assumed was a brilliant Planet of the Apes costume. The hair on the face looked very authentic and then I realized, she wasn’t wearing a costume. Damn mushrooms. I had to remember to keep on guard against things like that.
Halfway down the hall I ran into my brother and his assistant/main squeeze that comes on these ventures with him to enjoy the fanfare and help out. She is an aficionado and living participant of art; her accent reminds me of some Euro/Chzechnian dialect and she is quick on the draw with a smart phone to jot down notes on my brothers shots. My brother, Mike, is the master behind the camera and approaches people like a tolerable Paparazzi (almost unheard of, I know). He will walk into a situation and direct his shots with finesse, being suggestive and subtle to those in front of the camera. Most cosplayers love to get their picture taken and are more than happy to pose for you but to get the piece of imagery inside a given shot that makes it stand out among others is a true gift; he definitely has that gift.
He’s glad to have me tag along at this convention as I have some geek knowledge on different comic books and video games, which would help come time to identify characters for the Nuvo (magazine) spread. He and his partner, Halina, were preparing to go into the main hall to jump headlong into the insanity inside. I still had not purchased my entry wristband so it was time for me to get one. I went to one of the ushers to find out where the wristbands were being sold.
You’ll need to go to room J, down the hall
Mike and Halina walked me down to room J, which I find out, was right in front where I had entered. Huge signs on the wall with the letter J, large enough for someone legally blind to see yet I missed it… cursed mushrooms. I pay the steep entry fee and we all walk back to the entrance of the main room. The cosplayers outside the main hall were good photo ops but the big payoff was inside. The big money characters were inside; William Shatner would be there, Lou Ferrigno (from the television series the Hulk), Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy), Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead), more Walking Dead stars, Power Rangers and more. These were the big guns that would give the Nuvo spread some panache, the type of media pornography the public thrives on. All that and more was inside so after a few more shots of cosplayers in the hall we made our way to the den of thievery.
Here I was facing one of my personal fears; I loathe and am a bit paranoid of huge crowds. A long ago incident at an outdoor two day rock concert showed me just how vulnerable attendees of any large scale event are to accidents and crowd ripple effect. There were a few times I recall going to concerts and being pushed with the crowds who stormed the doors to get in, like starving pigs to a trough, plowing over anyone that tried to stop them. I’ve seen people trampled underfoot in crowds. An out of control happening can get ugly and if you’re caught in the middle of it, you’re fucked. I tried not to think about this and immersed my thoughts on the strangeness provided by the mushrooms, the whole mind trip the mysterious spores bring about. I followed my brother and Halina into the main hall.


(My Communion with the Spore and) the Madness Called ComiCon


I made plans to venture on a relationship of a different sort for St. Valentines Day this year; a relationship with some magic mushrooms to dig into my psyche and knock me on my fucking thick noggin-remind me who I am. As each year (month?…day?..) brings me closer to the grave, I try to take the plunge at least once a year and ingest some of these marvelous little things. Call it my own personal little Communion. Kismet of the moment for me was, St. Valentines Day and my scoring some spores and Wizard ComiCon would all coincide this year; I recognized the moment of opportunity and grabbed it.
ComiCon is one of those events that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime-like Vegas. I am an avid fan of these conventions because they open up a world of fantasy amid a backdrop of corporate prostitution which smacks of myriad emotions-a plethora of clarity about our society all wrapped up in a tiny little microcosm of costumes and cheap merchandise. I found out that my brother would be doing a photo assignment for Nuvo magazine of Indianapolis down at the convention center which added even more interest to the whole affair.
The time came to set everything in motion. I started off the ritual by steeping the mushrooms in a tea mixture. I always find this a preferred method because eating those nasty things can lead to a number of minor irritations; mouth sores or inflamed taste buds and you become more prone to throwing up. A nice tea is the best way to do mushrooms. I drank the tea and tried to gauge the amount of time before everything would kick in because my plans were to walk down to the convention center, which was a good 5 to 6 mile jaunt. I figured all that activity would certainly work the mushrooms into my system and give me a nice scenic tour along the way. I had about a half hour before I planned to leave on my junket and felt a bit tired. I thought if I just laid my head down for a bit and caught a quick cat nap I’d be in a better frame of mind to catch ComiCon. I had been out late drinking the night before so perhaps my body was telling me to give it a small breather. You have to be careful with mushrooms though. You can sleep right through the experience and just have vivid dreams if you’re not careful. I did not want to fall asleep and miss ComiCon, what a waste of drugs that would be. I set an alarm on my phone just to be safe and closed my eyes.
Two minutes later they kicked in.
I was caught off guard and did not expect them to take that fast. (Once I checked my clock) I saw that the allotted amount of time had passed for the active chemicals the mushrooms bring to take effect in my body had passed. Time to get up and start the dance. I packed my goods and dressed in layers because it was cold as the Bering Sea out there. The weather people could not have predicted a worse day for walking but I was convinced that the mushrooms would drive me through come hell or high water to make it safe and in one piece to ComiCon. The journey would be part of the experience, I told myself and with that, hit the fucking bricks.
About half a block from my house I was blasted with arctic winds that froze my nipples solid and the jitters brought on by the shrooms didn’t help. I am blessed to have such great friends in times like this and called upon one such friend to cart me over to the convention center. I’m convinced I could have made it but would probably have suffered some thermal issues or frostbite, something nasty I’m sure. I would have been oblivious to the damage until I came down off the mushrooms and then would have discovered a thumb that no longer worked properly or something. My friend had expressed a weak interest in coming down to the event with me but balked at the steep price to get inside the Con. Most times when I attend these events I will merely stick to the corridors outside the main event to gaze over all the cosplayers (costumed players-people who dress in attire depicting a super hero, comic character, game character, etc.) and avoid the high price. This time, however, part of the whole soulful experience had to include delving into the thing full Monty. I had to pay the price and take the ride.
My friend bowed out but was nice enough to drop me off at the steps of the convention center. The mushrooms were kicking in really heavy at this point and I prepared myself for the obscene delight of fantasy and bright lights they call Wizard ComiCon (contd.)


Sports: the Subtle Psychosis


I peered in the window of a headstone cutters shop and gazed at the stone angel; This image was just what I needed to distract me from the normalcy of  Saturday night in the Gas Light, a purportedly haunted bar on the south side of Sleepytown. Having been in the Gas Light a number of times now I cannot say I’ve witnessed any ghosts or phantoms, however I will admit that the place is peculiar. The acoustics play with sound in the bar/restaurant. You can be sitting in one section of the building, up front where music is being performed, and hear someone from the back room at the pool table clear as a bell. If you move from your location the audible anomaly stops; this isn’t exactly what I would call spooky, just odd-especially when you’re numbed with high octane weed.
I left the sidewalk in front of the stonecutters shop and went back into the Gas Light. My friends were playing music up on stage and putting on a hell of a show for the crowd. I was thankful a stranger I met there offered to pass the joint outside so our small group of four got lit up and then stumbled back inside. The pool table was surrounded by players and observers, the band was playing away and at that moment my eyes honed in on the two large screened televisions above the bar. One was playing the Louisville vs. Virginia college basketball game; the other screen had MMA fighting. I was pulled in by both events as my eyes ping-ponged from one event to the other. The Louisville team was my favorite (if I had to call one) but I had to marvel at the showmanship of the mixed martial arts fighters; One fighter with dreads touted a pair of angel wings that ran the entire length of his back…another angel reference for me to ponder on. I wasn’t buying into the synchronicity of what I had witnessed which is why I refused to put any kind of bet down. Good thing too because angel wings lost that bout.
I stayed and watched another fight involving a wiry looking Scottish berserker and some thick statuesque man-the berserker slowly devoured and won the match. The ballgames kept going and the evening played on. My friends ended their gig for the evening and I had myself dropped off at my favored drinking hole for my own round of pool. As much time as I spend there it has trained me to the ways of that particular table so my win/lose ratio ends up pretty high on the win end. After I closed the bar down and started walking home I pondered about the significance of sports and what role they play for so many of us. Our high schools and universities rake in obscene amounts of money to support their athletic programs by comparison to academics. We allow sports stadiums in our towns and shower them with incentives and tax breaks. We pay exorbitant amounts for food and silly frills and banners to go watch a team live, or gather by television sets with friends and munch on fatty foods and drink beer. I wondered if entertainment was the only reason we do this. I feel there must be more, a deeper connection to sports but I cant say precisely what it must be. We pit our local teams against the world and wear their colors like a Tartan pattern of a Scottish clan. We will say the nastiest things of our opponents in the name of the game. We will gather to see cars crash and fighters bludgeoned and covered with blood, all for the sake of entertainment? There has to be more.
I would like to make some grand connection with the angel I saw and say it visited me in a dream that night and gave me the answers I sought, but that didn’t happen. However I did wake up and thought about this some more and concluded that we need to have sports in our society to curb the amount of people who would go on a killing spree without them. Sports are the one area where there is a possibility of attaching yourself to something that wins, something that overcomes the ills of our nation that make us want to give up. With sports, you can call yourself a winner for a moment, even when you don’t actually participate in a game. ‘My team won’ makes people smile to say and if you sink that impossible shot on the eight ball to take the game, your victory lets you shine. Sports are subtle delusions which make us feel like winners when we pick the right team or help win the game. Victorious MMA fighters charge off screaming with euphoria, arms raised in the air, war cry belching from their mouths as they strut in a circle in front of their fans, but that same fighter still faces the day to day issues you and I do. That fighters still got bills to pay and crooked politicians deeming law on him. NFL players shine on the big screen with dazzling graphics and paid endorsement contracts, but a lot of them still end up broke and broken. I’ve heard all my life that sports build character but I guess I always never looked into how they build that character. Between our chores we all play games and that seems to help make the world go around.   

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